Banmattie Persaud, the businesswoman accused of attempting to export cocaine-filled boulangers to Canada, was yesterday remanded to jail after being charged with drug possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Persaud, 37, also known as ‘Lolita,’ of Lot 40 Grass Field, Lusignan, East Coast Demerara, pleaded not guilty to the charge after it was read by Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry at the Georgetown Magis-trates’ Court 1.
It was alleged that on November 30, at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri (CJIA), Persaud had 12.3 kilogrammes of cocaine in her possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) Prosecutor Oswald Massiah said Persaud used a particular licensed exporter to export fruits and vegetables to Canada earlier in the year. He added that the arrangement to export vegetables through that exporter later ceased since the exporter ran into financial problems and could no longer afford to keep his business going.
Massiah added that when Persaud later approached the exporter to export vegetables to Canada, he informed her of his problems and she helped him to get back in business, including regaining his exportation licence.
In November, Massiah said, Persaud indicated that she needed to ship vegetables to Canada. She asked the exporter to uplift some of the vegetables from the Bourda Market, while she uplifted the remainder from Berbice and the East Coast Demerara, which included the boulangers.
The exporter then took the vegetables he collected to Timehri on November 30, where he met Persaud and they then proceeded to merge the vegetables to be shipped to Canada.
CANU officers later decided to make a thorough check of the shipment and Massiah related that when one of the officers held the first boulanger the top came off. Inside of the hollowed-out boulanger, he found a white substance, believed to be cocaine, inside a transparent plastic bag.
Officers then checked the rest of the shipment and discovered the same. Because Persaud had already left, the exporter was then told of the suspicion and the entire shipment was taken to CANU headquarters.
Massiah added that CANU officers checked Persaud’s home and she was not found. However, five days after a wanted bulletin was issued for her, she turned up at CANU headquarters with an attorney.
Attorney Rexford Jackson, who appeared for Persaud, asked for a date to begin trial. He opted not to make a bail application, noting his familiarity with the court’s system in relation to narcotics cases and the need for special reasons pertaining to the charges.
Persaud was remanded until tomorrow, when the case will be called at the Providence Magistrate’s Court.